Ballincollig booked their place in the Cork SFC quarter-final on Saturday after a hard-fought but fully deserved victory over Kiskeam in Ballyclough.
In front of an impressive crowd, the Muskerry men racked up a creditable 17 points. But some poor finishing and fine stops from Kiskeam keeper Anthony Casey prevented them extending the winning margin with goals.
Ballincollig looked a threat throughout as Cian Dorgan’s bagged nine points. His colleagues Darren Murphy (five) and Garry Comerford (two) also kept Kiskeam’s defenders under pressure throughout.
Ballincollig manager Tom Dorgan acknowledged it was a big win for his side.
“We are just delighted now to be in the quarter-final. It was a real war of attrition, a real tough game. Kiskeam really put it up to us, especially in the first half when they were really hard to break down, the way they set up with their extra men in the back. But we had a bit of patience and composure.
“In the second half we had some really bad wides but once we settled down a bit we played some good football.”
Dorgan can now look to a big day against another powerful suburban side.
“We now will look to a quarter-final against Douglas, which will be a real tough test. They have a serious outfit if they can get all their lads together. They have had time to practice and no doubt they were here to watch us today so they will have their homework done. So another big day for us awaits.”
Ballincollig dominated the opening 10 minutes in both the possession and scoring stakes with a triple (two from play and one free) from Dorgan.
The North Cork side did manage to trouble the scoreboard on 10 minutes, with a free from wing forward Adrian Carroll, but the men in black were struggling to keep pace. Casey kept Kiskeam in touch with a brilliant save from Dorgan but a tasty score from Comerford pushed Ballincollig back into a three-point lead as the game entered the second quarter.
Every team is likely to have some period of dominance and Kiskeam grabbed hold of the fixture from the 19th to the 25th minutes, outscoring their opponents by 1-3 to no score.
Firstly, Sean O’Sullivan slotted over to cut the gap to two before Comerford hit the Kiskeam upright — a minute later Ballincollig’s net minder Jack Gibbons was taking the ball from his own net after a brilliant finish from Michael Herlihy.
Another point followed from Gene Casey and after holding up to 80% of the possession, Ballincollig found themselves trailing by three, 1-4 to 0-4.
Ballincollig rallied and scores from Dorgan and Herlihy brought them back to within one as the sides headed for the dressing rooms, 1-5 to 0-7.
Ballincollig needed a good start if they were to see off a resilient Kiskeam and they got it thanks to three quick points from Murphy — reclaiming a lead they wouldn’t lose again.
Scores from Dorgan, Murphy, and Sean Kiely pushed Ballincollig clear in the closing stages and despite Kiskeam sticking to their task, they didn’t have the attackers to pull this one from the fire.
Scorers for Ballincollig: C Dorgan (0-9, 2 frees); D Murphy (0-5); G Comerford (0-2, 1 free); S Kiely (0-1).
Scorers for Kiskeam: S O’Sullivan (0-4, 1f); M Herlihy (1-0); G Casey (0-2, 1f); AJ O’Connor, A Carroll, M Casey (0-1).
BALLINCOLLIG: J Gibbons; N Galvin, L Jennings, K Coleman; K Browne, C O’Connell, C Kiely; S Kiely, P O’Neill; JP Murphy, P Kelly, C Moore; G Comerford, C Dorgan, D Murphy.
Subs: L Fahy for K Browne (half-time), R Noonan for C Moore (58), S O’Neill for K Coleman (61)(bc).
KISKEAM: A Casey; D Linehan, DJ Casey, J O’Connor; M Casey, AJ O’Connor, K O’Connor; T Dennehy, S Meehan; D Fitzgerald, S O’Sullivan, A Carroll; D Scannell, G Casey, M Herlihy.
Subs: T O’Sullivan for D Fitzgerald (51), S Carroll for D Linehan (51), R Carroll for G Casey (52)(bc), M Casey for D Scannell (53), P O’Leary for DJ Casey (56).
Referee: J Bermingham (Bride Rovers).